Chocolate Walnut Biscotti

I hope you had a Merry Christmas, everyone! I wish that all of you were able to spend lots of time with family and friends, and of course enjoyed lots of delicious food. I have had a very relaxing break so far, mostly involving sleep and organizing myself before I have to go back to the hectic schedule I have once school starts up again.

One thing that I have been very grateful to be able to do over these past few weeks is really explore what New York has to offer in terms of classical music, namely going to lots of concerts. Some of my favorite things that I’ve seen this year include Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, and most recently, the New York Philharmonic’s performance of Handel’s Messiah. It’s hard to find time mainly because I’m the only one in my family that thinks it’s really fun to watch an opera for 3 and a half hours, but between birthdays and the holiday season, I’ve made it work.

While I don’t get sucked up into the holiday cookie craze too much (this is when gymnastics season starts, after all), I still love to make a nice treat for my family and others to enjoy this time of year, and one of my favorites is biscotti. Between the endless thumbprint cookies, crinkle cookies, gingerbread, etc., I like to make something that isn’t cloyingly sweet and is easy to enjoy in the morning, afternoon, or as a sweet treat after dinner that won’t give you more calories than you can count.

Chocolate Biscotti

Chocolate Walnut Biscotti- Adapted from The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 7.48 ounces (1 cup + 1 tablespoon) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces (1 1/8 cup) all purpose flour
  • 1.83 ounces (1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 cups toasted walnut pieces
  • 4.59 ounces (3/4 cup) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg for egg wash

Directions

  1. Position one rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar for 1 minute or until a sandy mixture forms. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until fluffy and lighter in color, about 1 minute more.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, add the flour, cocoa powder, coffee powder, baking soda, and cinnamon and whisk together. Add to the butter and egg mixture in 2 additions, and mix only until combined.
  4. Fold the walnuts and the chocolate chips into the dough, and mix until evenly distributed. The dough will be thick and hard to stir. If it is too sticky, chill briefly.
  5. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces, about 16 oz. each. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a log about 2 inches wide by 14 inches long by 1 1/2 inches high. Place the logs on the prepared sheet pan with several inches between them.
  6. In a small bowl, mix 1 egg with 1 teaspoon of water to make an egg wash. Brush each log with egg wash, coating them evenly on the top and sides.
  7. Bake for 27 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet from front to back halfway through baking, until very lightly browned and somewhat firm. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.
  8. Cool the logs for 20 minutes, then place them onto a cutting board. With a serrated knife, slice each log on a slight angle into 3/4-inch thick pieces, keeping them in a row. Slide the row of biscotti together, lift and place back onto the cookie sheet, then separate the slices, leaving 1/2 inch of space between each one.
  9. Bake again for 9-12 minutes, rotating once during baking until the biscotti feel slightly firm.
  10. Enjoy!

Enjoy the rest of the holiday season!

-Rayna

 

Vanilla Bean Latte Layer Cake

Guess what? Rayna Takes the Cake officially turns 2 years old today! If you want to see some really, um, interesting food photography (these, this, or those) and read more about my life after freshman year in high school you can head on back to the beginnings. It’s crazy to think that I’ve already had RTTC for 2 entire years, because when you are in high school, that’s practically an eternity. I’ve had so much fun baking and taking pictures and sharing recipes with you guys and I can’t wait to continue for many years to come!

_D320276I’m still in Canada and I’m just loving it. The people that I’ve met here are so amazing that I don’t want to even think about leaving! I’ll be back in the states on Sunday though, but I won’t be in the kitchen baking. Instead, I’ll be doing more music programs, but this time in New York City, which should be a blast. Not to mention that one of my great friends is joining me. I think I did a pretty good job planning out my summer, don’t you think?

_D320284In order to celebrate RTTC turning 2 years old, I knew I needed to make something spectacular. While I could have made something more culinar-ily (that is clearly a word) complex, layer cakes just have a special meaning that shouts celebration. I’ve made some layer cakes in the past, and clearly RTTC turning 2 called for another one. After making one of Sweetapolita’s incredible cakes for my brother’s birthday last year, I knew exactly where to go to find a delicious layer cake that would fit the bill for such an amazing occasion.

_D320289 2You start out with a simple vanilla bean cake recipe, and the amazing black dots of true vanilla bean are what bring it all together, and something that vanilla extract can’t exactly replace. Then, I made a latte Swiss meringue buttercream, using espresso powder and some cinnamon. I was especially proud because this was my first SMBC, and now I understand why it’s so popular. I’ll never need copious amounts of powdered sugar again! I filled one layer and the outside with SMBC, but then I took some Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter (so incredible) and heated it with some soymilk because why not. Finally, I just melted some chocolate (I probably should have made a ganache, though) and spread it on top to literally top it off. While I would recommend making this for a crowd, but I understand if you want it all to yourself. 🙂 Enjoy!

Vanilla Bean Latte Layer Cake

Ingredients

For the Cake:
  • 1-1/2 cups (3 sticks)(341 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2-2/3 cups (540 g) granulated sugar
  • 9 (275 g) egg whites, at room temperature
  • 4-1/2 cups (570 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons (22 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
  • 2 cups (480 ml) buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean, split & scraped
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
For the Buttercream:
  • 6 large egg whites (180 g)
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups (3 sticks)(340 g) unsalted butter, softened but cool, cut into cubes
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, split & scraped or 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) instant espresso powder (or to taste) dissolved into 1 teaspoon (5 ml) boiling water
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 g) cinnamon (or to taste)
  • Pinch of salt

Directions

For the Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter three 8″ x 2″ round cake pans, line with parchment rounds, butter paper and dust with flour, tapping out the excess.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until lighter in color and slightly increased in volume, about 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium and add the egg whites gradually, mixing until fully incorporated.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Mix vanilla extract and vanilla paste (or contents of vanilla bean) into buttermilk. Alternate dry ingredients and buttermilk into creamed mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated or finish by hand gently.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. If possible, weigh the batter in each cake pan on a digital kitchen scale to ensure even layers. Smooth with small offset palette knife, and bake for about 30 minutes, rotating once after 20 minutes. Cake is done when toothpick or skewer comes clean. Try not to over-bake.
  5. Let pans cool on wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert cakes onto racks, gently, peeling away parchment rounds. Let cool completely.
For the Buttercream:
  1. Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 160°F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
  2. With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes or so). *Don’t begin adding butter until the bottom of the bowl feels neutral, and not warm.
  3. Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). *If mixture is too runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes and continue mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add espresso mixture, vanilla, cinnamon and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.
Assembly of the Vanilla Bean Latte Layer Cake:
  1. Place cooled cake layer on cake pedestal, or cake board, face-up. Spread 1 cup of buttercream on top using a small offset palette knife, leaving narrow border along outside edge.
  2. Gently place 2nd cake layer on top, and be sure to center it with bottom layer. Apply another 1 cup of buttercream and spread as you did the first layer.
  3. Gently place final cake layer on top, face-down (so the clean bottom side is facing up). Apply a final layer of buttercream.
  4. Fill a pastry bag fitted with decorative tip (I used Ateco #887), and pipe desired designs on cake to trim and decorate. Sprinkle sliced cake servings with cinnamon, and garnish with espresso beans (optional).

A perfect replacement addition to your morning cup of java. 🙂

-Rayna 🙂

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hey there! I hope everyone’s weekend is going well. Yesterday, I had my seating auditions for orchestra. The way that seating auditions work is you are assigned a few excerpts to play from the pieces that we are doing and during orchestra rehearsal, you leave and go to a room where you do a blind audition. There is a black curtain between you and the judges so they don’t know how old you are, if you’re a boy or a girl, or anything else. All they care about is how well you play. Although it’s a very fair system, I sure was nervous! Results come out next week, so wish me luck!

I know I know, these don’t seem like the type of cookie recipe that I would post on here. They’re too typical for me. I like cookies that grab my attention, whether it be they have almond flour, stuffed with other cookies, or have unusual ingredients stuck in them. Chocolate chip cookies don’t do that. However, whenever someone finds out that I bake, the question I most frequently get asked is “Can you make me chocolate chip cookies?” So I finally gave in and made some plain chocolate chip cookies from Martha Stewart. I know everyone has their preferences for how they like them- chewy, soft, crisp, etc., but these are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, which is my ideal combination. A great cookie to make your weekend even better!

Chocolate Chip Cookies- Makes 3 Dozen Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (about 12 ounces) semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the vanilla and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  2. Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  3. Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the center, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

Just a great chocolate chip cookie. What’s not to love?

-Rayna 🙂
(P.S. I love the way these pictures turned out. Opinions? Thoughts?)

Chocolate-Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Now that school is over and the warm weather has emerged, I have what seems to be TONS of free time. Even though I would love to spend most of it baking, my summer schedule mostly involves doing lots and lots of gymnastics and learning some brand new pieces on viola. Gymnastics is what I’ll be doing for most of my summer for 20 hours a week, training to be able to compete (hopefully) Level 9 next year. As you can imagine, the skill level that you need to transition from Level 8 to Level 9 is more involved, and I’ll be sure to keep you guys posted on what I’m working on at the moment. This past week, I did my first backhandspring-backhandspring connected on the low beam without mats, which was quite an accomplishment for me, seeing that beam is by far the scariest piece of apparatus for me.

Gymnastics ends at 1:30, so I have the entire afternoon to do whatever I please (technically). Along with baking and posting, I’m looking to move foreward as far as my viola repertoire goes. At MSM Precollege, your final, which is called your jury, has many different requirements, and as you get older, you need to play more difficult music. Since I’ll be moving into the next age category this coming school year, and (hopefully) doing my share of concerto competitions around the area, I’ll be practicing a lot this summer in order to be prepared for this upcoming competition season, and even my jury next year! My teacher is going to be away the entire summer, but thankfully, I was able to get fingerings for all of the music.

BUT, onto these muffins. I had high expectations for these muffins, seeing as they were from Dorie’s Baking Book, despite the fact that I found the recipe off of Brown Eyed Baker. Coming out of the oven, these were some of the prettiest muffins that I had ever seen, with their perfectly cracked, dark chocolatey top. The rich chocolate flavor added a spunk to my morning, and straight out of the oven, the chocolate chips were perfectly melted and made getting up in the morning so much easier. Although these might be a little indulgent for your everyday breakfast (especially when trying to keep your bikini body!), these are a great weekend splurge and a fantastic addition to any brunch.

Chocolate-Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Makes 12 Muffins

Ingredients

  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter (6 tablespoons)
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit with paper muffin cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.

2. Melt the butter and half the chopped chocolate together in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from the heat.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, egg and vanilla extract together until well combined. Pour the liquid ingredients and the melted butter and chocolate over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Do not overmix the batter. Stir in the remaining chopped chocolate. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

4. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold.

So easy, so delicious. Enjoy!

-Rayna 🙂

Banana Chocolate Chip Coconut Muffins

This week has involved TONS of baking- the best kind of week. Despite the fact that I try to post on a regular basis about what’s going on in my kitchen, I frequently don’t actually get a chance to bake every week, especially since my Saturdays are spent at the Manhattan School of Music most of the time. I actually baked for my English class this week, and the post on the pound cake that I made is coming soon. First up is these muffins.

Over Memorial Day weekend, my mother had some of her culinary school buddies come up and enjoy the lovely, 90 degree weather with us. In my last post, I talked about how I had made some muffins before my mom’s friends came up, and we had some very ripe bananas that were begging to be made into a delicious muffin. The coconut and the chocolate chips just make this muffin irresistible, and you won’t regret these being a part of your breakfast. 🙂

Something that I’ve realized is vital in the world of food blogging is taking great pictures of food, so hopefully, with the help of my mom’s Nikon D90, I’ll be able to take photos that will leave you drooling. 🙂

Banana Chocolate Chip Coconut Muffins- From Technicolor Kitchen

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 280 grams all purpose flour (2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 150 grams sugar (3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup dark or semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and prepare 12 muffin tins.
  2. Sift the flour and the baking powder in a medium bowl. In a stand mixer, combine the canola oil and the sugar. Add in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla extract. Once combined, add the mashed bananas. Add in the dry ingredients in multiple additions until just combined.
  3. Remove the batter from the stand mixer and fold in the coconut and the chocolate chips until evenly dispersed. Using an ice cream scooper or a spoon, fill up the muffin tins 2/3 of the way up. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out cleanly.

Such a simple muffin that guarantees lots of smiles. 🙂

-Rayna 🙂

Campfire Delight: 6 Layer Rich Chocolate Malted and Toasted Marshmallow Cake

Ohhhh boy. Are you ready for this cake? 6 layers of moist, chocolatey goodness filled with toasted marshmallow buttercream and topped with malted chocolate buttercream. Drool.

For Memorial Day weekend, we get a long weekend off from school. Long weekend= excuse to bake, right? Of course it does! The recipes for the muffins and the cookies I whipped up tonight are coming later, but I’ve actually been hiding this cake from you since January, because I needed the time to create a post that would give this cake the justice that it deserves.

I know that there are some of you that aredeathly afraid of making a layer cake. I promise, I pinky-promise, that everything will turn out all right. As long as you wait for the cakes to cool properly and you use room temperature ingredients, everything will stack up nicely and neatly, and you’ll have an impressive cake to show off to your friends and family. And there will be leftovers. Cake as leftovers= breakfast anyone? 🙂

Campfire Delight: 6 Layer Rich Chocolate Malted and Toasted Marshmallow Cake- From Sweetapolita

Ingredients:

For the Chocolate Cake

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder (Dutch Processed is better)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup strong black coffee
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the Malted Chocolate Frosting

  • 1 pound sugar (4 sticks/2 cups), room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup Classic Ovaltine (NOT chocolate)
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped and melted (I used Ghiradelli, but make sure you use a nice brand)
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

For the Toasted Marshmallow Cake

  • 16 large white marshmallows
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1/2 pound butter (2 sticks, 1 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces of marshmallow fluff

Directions:

For the Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare 2 x 9″ (or 3 x 8″) round cake pans. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
  2. In a stand mixer, mix together all of the other ingredients. Add the dry ingredients in slowly. Once fully incorporated, divide the batter into the 2 pans. Bake for 35 minutes (rotating the cakes after 20) and cool for 20 minutes in a wire rack. While the cakes are baking, prepare the icings.

For the Malted Chocolate Frosting

  1. In a stand mixer, beat together the butter and the confectioners sugar for about 1 minute. Add in the vanilla extract and the malt powder and beat on low until just incorporated. Add the melted chocolate and mix until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add in the cream and beat on medium/high speed for about 2 minutes. Use immediately.

For the Toasted Marshmallow Buttercream

  1. Line up the 16 marshmallows on a prepared cookie sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven until light brown, about 2 minutes- keep an eye on them because they burn very quickly! In a stand mixer, beat together the butter and the confectioners sugar for 1 minute on low. Add the vanilla and mix on high for about 3 minutes. Add the marshmallow cream and the toasted marshmallow and mix on low for about 1 minute.

To Assemble the Cake

  1. Once all of the cakes are cooled, place one layer of the chocolate cake on a cake board or any flat, sturdy surface. Take the toasted marshmallow buttercream and starting from the outside, pipe* circles until you reach the middle. Place another layer of cake on top and repeat the process.
  2. If you want, you can cut each of the layers in half and fill the cakes in the same method, just alternate between using the chocolate frosting and the toasted marshmallow buttercream.
  3. Once the entire cake is filled, squeeze a generous amount of the chocolate frosting on top of the cake and all around the sides (just make “stripes” to start with). Using an offset spatula, spread the frosting around until you get a nice even coat, being sure to add more frosting to the edges until the frosting is either used up, or you’ve used as much as you like.
  4. EAT!!!

* For a piping bag, you can either buy them here or use a plastic bag that you cut a small opening out of.

Who said Mondays are boring? 🙂

-Rayna 🙂

Triple Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

It’s been awhile since I’ve had this much time to bake! School let out for break yesterday, so this upcoming week will be full of baked goodies and breakfast recipes to help spice up your holiday week.

If you haven’t been able to tell, I love cranberries. Their tartness is a wonderful contrast to the sweetness that baked goods have, along with being festive and pretty. When I stumbled upon these cookies on Epicurious, I knew that they had to be in my mouth instantly. These cookies will make those people who claim to “not like cranberries” quickly fall in love with this magical fruit. The distinct tartness of the cranberries pairs so well with the sweetness of the chocolate, and the texture of the oatmeal in the background is exactly what you need to make these cookies oh-so-amazing. After stuffing yourself with thumbprints and fudge until you feel like you’re going to explode, I hope that you’ll try out these truly awesome cookies. Have a very happy holiday! 🙂

Triple Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Makes about 30 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (1 1/4 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup fresh (or frozen) cranberries

Directions

  1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking soda and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
  3. Beat together the sugars and the butter until smooth. Add in the egg and vanilla extract. Add in the flour mixture and the oats until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and the cranberries.
  4. Spoon evenly onto baking sheets and bake until golden brown, around 16 minutes.

This are a nice twist from your traditional holiday cookie, and once you have one, you’ll be addicted!

Happy Holidays!

-Rayna 🙂

Chocolate Cupcakes with Pumpkin Buttercream

I’m generally not the biggest cupcake eater, but once this idea popped into my head I simply couldn’t get it out! At my school, we were having a bake sale for Unified Sports, and being a member of the club, I wanted to bake something. It was slightly Halloween themed, hence the black and orange, but I would have made these anyway. For me, cupcakes tend to be over-the-top sweet with the frosting, and the cupcakes a little bit dry (maybe that’s why I like muffins so much!), but these cupcakes are a clear exception.

They were wonderfully chocolatey and moist, and the pumpkin buttercream wasn’t too too sweet, rather it was the perfect balance between the powdered sugar and the warmth of the pumpkin. These would be a great twist to have on your Thanksgiving table (maybe a chocolate cake with pumpkin buttercream? Yum!) and a nice change from the classic pumpkin pie. Enjoy!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Pumpkin Buttercream

Adapted From Martha Stewart and Petit Chef– Makes 18 Cupcakes

Ingredients- For the Cupcake

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 18 muffin tins.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder until combined.
  3. Add in the eggs, warm water, buttermilk, canola oil, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth, about 3 minutes.
  4. Divide the batter evenly and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Ingredients for the Pumpkin Buttercream

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg (maybe 1/8 teaspoon?)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 pounds powdered sugar (more or less)

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, cream the butter, pumpkin and the spices. Slowly add the sugar until the pumpkin is no longer separated by the pumpkin.

How could you pass up something that is so easy to make and is so gosh darn delicious? I know I couldn’t 😉

-Rayna 🙂

Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops

My family and I love to try new foods and experiment with ingredients that aren’t in your typical kitchen. In our kitchen, you can find dried chrysanthemum flowers, monkey-picked tea, date paste, and spices that you didn’t even knew existed. A vanilla malt has always been one of my brother’s favorite drinks, so I went to the store to get some malt powder to add to our ever-growing collection of ingredients that you will never use. 🙂

These cookies provide a decadent combination of that chocolate malt flavor with a crunch from the Whoppers (and Crunch Bars!) mixed in throughout. They were exactly what I needed after a long week at school, and they’ll certainly be appearing again sometime soon. 🙂

Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops- Makes 30 Cookies

From Baking: From My Home To Yours– Dorie Greenspan

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup malted milk powder (Either regular or chocolate flavored, I used chocolate Ovaltine)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 11 tablespoons (1 stick and 3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 4 ounces chocolate-covered malted milk balls (I used Whoppers)
  • 2 ounces crispy rice candy (I used Crunch bars)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (or chunks)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare 2 baking sheets.
  2. Mix together the flour, malted milk powder, cocoa, and baking powder.
  3. Beat together the butter and the sugar until very smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating about a minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla- Don’t worry if the mixture is curdled.
  4. Mix in the dry ingredients until just incorporated, and fold in the malted milk balls, crispy rice candy, and chocolate chips.
  5. Scoop onto the cookie trays (make them even!) and bake for 11-13 minutes- they will be slightly soft to the touch.

The only bad part about these cookies is when they’re all gone! 😉

-Rayna 🙂

(P.S. I’m trying to work on my food photography skills, feel free to comment!)

Peanut Butter Snickers Brownies

With Halloween just around the corner, there’s candy everywhere! 🙂 So to start of Halloween baking this year, and seeing Peanut Butter Snickers in the store, there was only one logical option. Although Twix may be my favorite candy, Snickers come in at a pretty close second. Add some more peanut butter to an already decadent dessert, and I’m one happy girl 🙂

Through many attempts at brownie recipes, I’ve found that I like my brownies on the cakier side, with just a little bit of fudge in the middle. These brownies fit that criteria exactly. If you’re more of a fudgy brownie person, feel free to use your own recipe and throw some peanut butter snickers in, you won’t be disappointed!

Peanut Butter Snickers Brownies- From My Baking Addiction

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup butter (You can be generous!)
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 12 Peanut Butter Snickers Squares, cut into fourths

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8×8 inch baking pan
  2. Microwave the butter and chocolate for 3-4 minutes, or until the butter is melted.
  3. Whisk until the chocolate is melted and stir in the sugar. Add in the eggs and vanilla extract. Gradually add in the flour and stir until just combined.
  4. Spread 1/2 the batter into the baking dish and cover with an even layer of snickers. Add in the other 1/2 of the batter and cover with remaining snickers.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes (Don’t overbake!) and cool completely.

This brownie recipe really does take the cake! 😉

-Rayna 🙂